Posts Categorized: Blogging

How To Write An Engaging Blog Post

7 Actionable Tips For Creating An Engaging Blog Post

The company blog is more than just a place to promote products. It’s the hub of the website, and there are a number of ways to create blog posts that are beautiful, shareable, linkable and engaging.

 

1. Create images for social media.

How To Create Social Media Images

There’s a lot of information competing for people’s attentions, especially in the content world. To set your content apart and illustrate your message, images can effectively drive your points home and increase engagement in the process.

According to a study by Skyword, content with at least one image saw an average of 70 percent more views compared with articles without an image. That’s a key indicator that images are important not only from a search engine optimization perspective, but also from a reader’s point of view. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

Here are a few photo banks, stock photo sites and search databases you can look through:

 

2. Use headings.

Heading Tags In Content

Headings, like the ones used in this post, help the reader scan the article for the information they’re looking for. It’s relatively easy to creating heading tags in WordPress, by just selecting the word or phrase in the body of the post, and clicking the “paragraph” menu in the toolbar to select the heading tag you wish to use.

Heading Tags WordPress

It’s best practice to reserve the H1 for the post title, while H2 and/or H3 can be used for content headings.

 

3. Link to other pages of the website.

Link To Other Pages

Since search engines generally follow links, it makes sense to place relevant links within the content of your blog post to other parts of the website. This helps the search engines crawl and index the site, and also helps visitors navigate the site and eventually (hopefully) convert.

Internal Link Structure SEO Example

One way to set up an internal link structure is to install the SEO Smart Links WordPress Plugin, which will automatically link your preset list of keywords to pages that you determine within your content.

 

4. Link from other pages of the website.

Link From Other Pages

Like linking to other pages of the site, you should also be linking from older, established pages to the new blog posts you create.

Add Link in WordPress Post

When you link both to and from pages within the website, you allow link juice to flow and authority to spread evenly across the site.

 

5. Links to external resources.

Link To External Resources

External links are an important part of the user experience, since they provide additional context for the point you’re trying to make. It’s also considered best practice to balance the number of external links with internal links in a blog post, as this looks more natural.

If you’re looking for additional resources to link to, there are a few searches you can make:

In Google or Bing, just search for the keyword or phrase and look at some of the relevant pages that display in the search results. You can also check out Topsy and search for keywords there.

 

6. Use bold, italics, •bullet points and other formatting to highlight portions of the post.

How To Format Blog Posts

Often website visitors will initially scan the post, and then decide whether they want to read the whole thing later.

Formatting Blog Post in WordPress

If there are portions of the post you want to stand out from the rest, you can format the post with bold and italics. This can help to break up the big chunks of text.

 

7. Use additional media such as embedded video, embedded social media posts to increase time-on-page and social actions.

How To Embed Media Into Blog Post

Incoming traffic is important, but it’s also important to keep that traffic on your website as long as possible to increase the chance of conversion.

One way to keep visitors engaged and on your website is by embedding media into your blog post, including YouTube or Vimeo videos, audio such as Soundcloud tracks, and social media posts from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

Here are a few guides on how to embed media into your WordPress posts:


6 Ways To Supercharge Content Marketing

6 Essential Ways To Supercharge Your Blog Content

It seems like everyone is blogging these days. In fact, people spend 23% of their online time reading blogs and browsing social networks like Facebook and Twitter, so blogging is quickly becoming a part of today’s culture.

So how can you cut through the web clutter, and make your blog post stand out from the rest? More importantly, how can you craft a beautiful, share-worthy post that will entice one-time readers to become loyal brand evangelists?

Supercharge Blog Content Marketing

Here are 11 things every writer should consider doing:

 

1. Create intriguing and clickable titles

Kids Playing With Cans And String

You don’t necessarily need an Upworthy or Buzzfeed styled headline to grab people’s attention. A powerful title can entice people to click through to your website, which is really important given the statistics. While an average of 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, only 2 of them will actually click through to read your article. The good news is that you can beat those numbers with a bit of practice crafting a great title.

Here are 5 actionable resources for creating a click-worthy headline:

 

2. Use eye-catching and compelling images

Delicate Arch

If compelling titles entice people to click through to read the story, interesting and unique images will most likely make them stay on your site longer.

Be careful with where you get these images, though.

Not every photo found on the internet is available to use, since images have different licenses which can restrict where they can be published. There are a few options for photos, however, including images from stock photography sites like Getty, or photos with a Creative Commons license that you can use with proper attribution.

Here are 3 posts to read about using images correctly:

Here are 5 sites that offer free photos:

 

3. Build out buzzworthy lists

Buzzfeed List Post

There are a few reasons why I’m in love with lists.

They’re share-worthy (especially when you get into the 50-100 item range), they’re easy to scan, and they’re easy to view on a mobile device. While it’s never a good idea to put all your content eggs in the same list basket, lists can be a great filler between your in-depth articles, and a way to drive some decent traffic.

The format for a list post is simple:

  • Quick introductory blurb about the article.
  • H2 headings for each item in the list
  • Photos or embedded media placed below each item heading
  • Quick blurb below the photos which describes each point

 

4. Add in embedded media

Facebook

Text posts are boring, so spice up your blog by adding embedded media. Videos from YouTube and Vimeo, Facebook and Twitter posts, Instagram photos, SlideShare slideshows, Vines, and anything else that comes with an embed code can be added to your posts.

Here are some guides to embedding media in your WordPress blog:

 

5. Stick to a content calendar

Hubspot Content Calendar

An editorial calendar can let you schedule your resources around future planned events, and also helps you continue writing when you feel like there’s nothing to write about. It doesn’t need to be complex, and in fact, the simpler the calendar system, the more likely you will use it.

Here are 5 content calendar templates:

 

6. Track the wins with Analytics

Analytics

Each month, identify your top 10 visited pages in Google Analytics, and brainstorm ideas to repurpose them. If these 10 pages and posts are your site’s most popular pieces of content, expanding them will likely lead to additional traffic opportunities.

 

What are your go-to tools for blogging? Let me know!


Utilizing-your-blog-effectively-for-SEO

Utilizing Your Blog More Effectively for SEO

We deal with a lot of blogs at Trafficado–some are done really well, but most are not meeting their full potential (including our own at the moment). Writing content is one of those things that comes naturally for a few, but is quite difficult for many people. If you are having trouble getting started with writing, read this post for tips to get you started writing a blog.  Assuming you have begun writing and are at least comfortable publishing your thoughts, here are some characteristics of a blog that will help take your blog to the next level and increase your website’s benefit from SEO.

Ideas for posts

There are a ton of sources of inspiration for writers. Conversations, real world problems, articles or other blog posts, reviews of products, wandering minds, and a million other sources. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll be flowing with topics to write about and it also doesn’t mean you’ll write about topics your readers will be interested in. Many struggle with this. Throughout the day you may come across several different ideas but don’t think to write down your thoughts or you forget the topic when you sit down to write. To help with this I like to keep a note file on my phone (or a notebook and pen–if you still own those things) and I constantly refer to it throughout the day. This helps me think about topics to write as well as remind me to record those ideas when I come across them. And then when I sit down to write I can review those and start crafting an actual post. Usually I just add drafts with thoughts and then over time work those into a published post. Another way to generate great ideas for your blog is through the use of analytics. As you look through where your traffic is coming from you  can identify what people are looking for. You can identify what they wanted to know and see if you addressed what they were looking for sufficiently.  To do this more effectively you can use HitTail to help automate the process and come up with a systematic solution for post ideas that will help you gain additional organic traffic. They will give you recommendations for topics based on your existing search traffic and their algorithm to identify the best opportunities. The beauty of HitTail is that uses your analytics but is geared towards helping you target blog content so you don’t have to filter through a lot of other information to get keywords that you should be targeting.

 Rel Authorship/Publisher

Another step to taking your blog to the next level is setting up rel authorship. This is the process by which you verify your identity as the author of specific posts with Google. The idea is that Google will favor authors who create high quality content and social engagement. They will also show your image in the search engine results which can help catch the attention of those searching and lead to a higher click through rate. You can do this individually as the author, and then also set up a “publisher” to identify the content coming from your company. Rel Author SERP ImageThere are many posts on how to implement authorship, so I won’t do it here. Check out the following posts:

Search Engine Land: Guide to Google Authorship

Search Engine Journal: How to Setup Google+ Authorship

 

Invite Guest Bloggers

One common problem with blogs is trying to get enough content published to keep readers coming back. For SEO, the more content you have the better your site will rank for long-tail keywords. But if you can’t produce much content yourself it can be hard to get that additional organic traffic. So one thing that helps is to invite guest bloggers to your site. The goal is to provide consistent high quality content on a variety of topics targeted towards your audience. You probably will need to start off reasonably small inviting people you have good relationships with, but as your blog becomes more authoritative you will have an easier time convincing people to write for you. You may have to explain the benefits of SEO and blogging depending on your industry and guest authors understanding, but most people will understand when you tell them that your site gets traffic and the post they write will link back to their site or social profile to help them gain exposure. Make sure you review posts before they are published (at least until the writer(s) prove themselves if they are going to be writing on a regular basis for you) so you can weed out spammy posts and focus on high quality guest posts that provide real value to your readers.


GuestBloggers1

Five Characteristics of A Non-Spammy Guest Blog Post

As a marketer, I’ve seen my fair share of spammy guest blog posts and the truth is, spammy guest posts are easy for a search engine to sniff out and take action against.

I see my post today being very valuable to two audiences, those who produce guest posts as part of a link acquisition strategy, and those who publish guest posts on their website. The last thing you want to do as a publisher is get your domain torched for posting very generic, similar looking content. Let’s jump in.

 Unique Look & Feel

The first characteristic is a simple one to understand and begin to execute, that is, making sure that every post you write or publish has its own unique look and feel to it. Writing 400 word posts, four paragraphs, with a left justified image, and three links in the author bio is not only boring, but completely unnatural and is super easy for the search engines to uncover. Spend an extra ten minutes and make them all look and feel different.

 Image Usage

The second characteristic sort of plays into the first one, that is, using images in your posts. When using images with your content, make sure to switch it up in terms of placement. In one post, left justify, in the next, right justify. You can also use multiple images strategically placed throughout your content (don’t forget to optimize them). Just remember that no one wants to read a post that is just full of words, especially the search engines.

 Internal & External Link Usage

The third characteristic is making sure you are leveraging the content to link in and out to other related content. Again, you don’t want all of your links to be in the author bio. Take some time to do some research to find some other blog posts on the site you are publishing on or other external sites in the same niche. Write and link like a real blogger, not a link builder.

 Social Engagement

The fourth characteristic is working to get each placement in front of your audience to help entice the sharing of your content. You can clearly tell when a piece of content has been written just for links when there are a bunch of goose eggs across all of the share buttons on your post. Take an extra fifteen minutes and share the content yourself an ask a few of your social media buddies to do the same. You might also consider leveraging communities like Triberr or Dizzle to get the ball rolling.

 Comments

The fifth and last characteristic kind of goes hand in hand with social engagement, that is, work to get at least a few comments on your content. If you are writing and publishing stellar content and you are producing some shares, you will probably pick up a comment or two, but if you aren’t simply ask others in you organization or in your contact list if they would be willing to drop a legitimate comment on your content.  Comments add unique content to the page your content lives on as well as solidifies that it is a real blog post that is trying to create value.

So there you have it, five characteristics of non-spammy guest blog posts. Am I missing anything? If so, please share in the comments section below.

 About The Author

Steve Jensen is an online marketing specialist at Vysibility.com. Vysibility is a full service digital marketing agency that specializes in offering digital marketing services, tools, and training. To learn more about them, please visit their website.


social-media-blogging

The Winning Combination of Blogging and Microblogging

As blogging was becoming a household term; microblogs like Twitter were making their way onto our mobile devices. Other microblogs such as Jaiku, Identi.ca, Plurk, and several others tried their hand but didn’t gain the traction necessary to demand sustained user attention.

Along with these services, picture blogs like TwitPic and Tumblr quickly gained ground. People were used to reading full blogs with well-thought messages and multimedia elements that were more engaging than the short burst of random thoughts that microblogs offered.

Video blog platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and Ustream.tv quickly gained popularity and provide embeddable content for your blog posts. They can also be shared via social channels with ease.

With the influence and convenience of microblogging, Facebook introduced status updates and Google+ later launched to give us more platforms than any one person can reasonably manage.

I think we’re approaching the full circle of content development and distribution when we look at blogs and microblogs as complementary to any online marketing strategy.

Lets review the benefits of publishing to your blog:

  • Your blog is a permanent home for all of your content no matter the format
  • You attract links to a URL you control
  • You notify feeds, search engines, and other recipients that your new content is available
  • You can build your brand around your content
  • You can tie authors to your content
  • You can encourage subscriptions to your blog to perpetuate interest and readership
  • You can move your blog at your will
  • You always own your content

Lets review the benefits of distributing your content through microblogs:

  • You can reach people in your network
  • They can reach people in their network
  • It’s easier to retweet, or share, than to quote your blog post
  • There are 1 billion people on Facebook
  • There are over 500 million people on Twitter
  • There are 400 million users on Google+

So how do you make these siblings play nice and work to your benefit? That is the question and I’ll attempt to answer it.

Create content that is well-rounded and attracts as many readers as possible. Think about the last event you attended or your newest product release. Instead of feeling compelled to write up 300-500 words of text and publishing it to your blog, think about recording some piece of the event or product launch and embed that within your post. Snap a few pictures of attendees or product launch images and provide a visual to your words. Explain and share your process in a slide deck and include it with the rest of your post elements and your readers will not only have a better chance of engagement but you’ll probably attract a link to your post. By its very nature, the link to your post will share link equity to your media posted on YouTube and Slideshare and provide a greater chance of that content ranking well for your content.

As you can see, publishing great content to your blog and growing your engaged friends on social sites can speed up your page indexation & rankings for new content. You should think about what your readers would like to see, and what would entice them to share/link to your original content, and find a way to publish and distribute that information to your networks.

About the author:

Ash Buckles is the President of SEO.com. He provides strategic direction of executive management and promotes organic search (SEO), content development, integrated online promotions, and analytics. Ash is the co-founder of #seochat on Twitter.


ipad2-tablet-540x180

Replacing Your Laptop with a Tablet

Over the last year or so tablets have become a fairly commonplace gadget. As they improve on both the hardware and software they are becoming a realistic replacement for a laptop–at least in certain situations. I rarely take my laptop home from work (except on the weekends) instead taking the much smaller and lighter iPad. As I’ve started to make this switch I started to find more and more apps and accessories to help me in my transition and actually make it happen. As a disclaimer, I do have a spare laptop and a desktop at home if I really need to do something that the iPad can’t do–because hey–if I really need to get something done sometimes the iPad doesn’t cut it.  But in most instances a tablet can replace my laptop for what I do at home. So what are some of the things that made my life easier?

Apps: Most of what has made my life easier is getting the right apps.

Dropbox: At Trafficado we use Dropbox a lot. So I need to be able to access files wherever I go. And that means I need to be able to view them at home on my iPad. So this app is a must have for me. The thing I don’t like about the app is that I can’t edit the files and sync them with Dropbox–but recently I came across CloudOn which lets you sync with your DropBox account and then edit and re-save files. I haven’t been using it for very long, but so far it’s worked well to edit Word and Excel files straight from the iPad from DropBox.

Social Media Manager (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, etc.): I use Hootsuite for managing my social media for work so having the app helps me easily view my streams and schedule tweets and Facebook status updates.

Raven: Need to check some rankings or traffic levels before you send off an email? Need to add a link or check your link manager? Do so from the handy dandy Raven app. It’s another necessity for an internet marketer working from the iPad. It takes a little getting used to at first to feel like you can get where you want, but once you do it’s a breeze.

RSS Reader (I use FeeddlerRSS): I catch my favorite marketing blogs via my reader, and the bulk of blog reading is done at home on the iPad. I use FeeddlerRSS to access my Google Reader feed and then either email or mark as starred anything that I want to pay attention to later.

WordPress: I use the WordPress app to check on sites, make quick edits and to write blog posts for sites. I don’t love certain things about it (mainly blog post formatting issues) but it’s great for getting posts in and saved as drafts where you only have to add an image or tweak some headers or something before you push it live.  And if you have to send it live from the iPad, you can do it.

Google: I use G-Whizz and iMailG to access Google Docs, Google Talk, and some of the other Google services that they don’t have in their own Gmail app.  G-Whiz is pretty comprehensive and it works just fine, but I have multiple Gmail accounts that I use and I don’t like switching between accounts in one app, so I use two different apps (really 3–but only occasionally) to stay on top of those items.

Go To Meeting: I don’t participate in tons of webinars, but it’s nice to have the app for when I need to on the go. And the app is a breeze to use.

Skype/Video Chat: For those times when you want to meet “face to face” the Skype app is handy to have and is simple to use.

 

Accessories

The main accessory that I love is my Zaggfolio keyboard. It makes typing a breeze and almost as fast as a laptop. If you’re doing any significant amount of typing, this is a must.

I’ve also been eyeing the ASUS Transformer Prime which has a pretty slick tablet/keyboard combo that rivals the iPad/Zaggfolio combo–but I haven’t been able to play around with it much yet so I can’t make a recommendation either way yet. However, I’m pretty convinced that you should keep your phone/tablet on the same operating system, so unless I made the change to an Android phone I probably wouldn’t seriously consider switching to a non-iOS tablet.

Apple iPad2 with Zaggfolio compared with Asus Transformer Prime

Overall, I’m becoming more and more reliant on my iPad and use it for more and more in both my personal and work life. But the key is finding the right setup for you to make sure that you aren’t caught in a tough spot needing to get something done that your tablet can’t do.  And that has been getting easier and easier recently–but let’s just say that I’m not replacing my laptop at work anytime soon with my iPad.


writers-block

Getting Started With a Blog: Developing Confidence

One of the best tools for increasing your stature and visibility on the web is a well maintained, quality blog. Google loves to see fresh, unique content and a blog is usually the easiest way to accomplish that. There are a lot of things that make it difficult but for a lot of people simply getting started as well as having the confidence to write (and having your writings available to the world) is a big hurdle.  A big part of this is also feeling like you have something important to say. So how do you get over this and get started?

There are a couple of things to help you get started. First, just get started writing.  You don’t have to publish your first few articles if you don’t like them (I still have some unpublished blog posts for the Trafficado blog), but just start identifying your voice and getting a feel for writing. It needs to sound authentic. One of the great things about a blog from the readers perspective is that they feel like they start to get to know you and then they want to hear what you have to say.  If it is just too big of a hump to get over having your name attached to the blog you can use display only your first name on the posts, but just get started.

As you start writing you should identify various topics that you are going to be writing on. This is definitely fluid and can change, but it will help you get started by identifying categories. These topics/categories you are writing on should be something you have some expertise in and is also interesting to your target audience. So identify what people want to know in topical area of your blog and write down questions they might have. Start with the basics to get the creative juices flowing, then think about things that people seem to misunderstand on the topic where you can contribute a simple answer (or more easily clarify the answer). From there offer your unique perspective on various issues. One place to always be watching is current events that relate to your topic. Current events are a great way to get new ideas about writing.  Another place to look for ideas is to ask others what they would like to see on the blog–see what questions they have and write answers to those questions.  As you get going you should be able to write down enough ideas to get started–and from there it gets easier.

Make sure you plan ahead by outlining a content schedule. It could be as simple as “write and publish one post per week”, or it could specifically state which posts you have and when you are going to post them–or which categories you are going to write about on which days. Put it on your calendar and plan time to write. It won’t ever happen if you don’t make it a priority, so planning time makes sure you have time to do it and you are reminded about it.

Keep something (notepad, phone with a note about blog thoughts, etc) with you to write notes and thoughts wherever you are. Ideas writing blog postswill come from a variety of sources and you need to capture the thought whenever and wherever it comes. And when they do come try and write down the context for the idea so you can re-create the thought and run with it when you actually sit down to start writing.

If you’re having problems coming up with ideas yourself, search the web for other blogs on your topic and see what they are writing about–then see if you can offer your own unique perspective on the topic–or if there is something you feel is missing from those blogs then fill in the gaps. Use personal experiences to identify topics and add a personal perspective to your writing as well.

All of this will help get over your lack of confidence in writing, but in the end you have to decide that this is something that you are going to do. If you aren’t committed, it won’t happen. And if you are truly committed to your search engine marketing you should be committed to blogging.


the-power-of-words

The Power of Words

Here is a great video to illustrate the power of words. Everyone in the marketing world needs to think about the words they use and how they will be interpreted by those reading them. Selecting the right words can lead to a higher converting marketing campaign. Select your words carefully.